For Parents

Managing Status Epilepticus

Prolonged or clustered seizures sometimes develop into non-stop seizures, a condition called status epilepticus.

Status epilepticus is a medical emergency. It requires hospital treatment to bring the seizures under control. If your child has had episodes of non-stop seizures that had to be treated in the emergency room, you will want to have a plan of action ready in case they occur again.

Ask the doctor if there are any new treatments for use at home or at school to stop a seizure from developing into status.

If your child is experiencing continuous seizures, call an ambulance. Do not attempt to transport an actively seizing child in your car unless an ambulance is not available.

Be aware of where the nearest hospital is, how long it takes to get there. If you live a long way from the hospital, you may plan to call earlier than you would if it were closer.

If there are several hospitals nearby, ask your doctor in advance which one to call.

Consider arranging for standing orders prepared by the doctor to be kept in the emergency room so the seizure can be managed as your doctor directs. Ask for a copy for yourself if you and your child travel out of town.

Leave detailed written instructions with babysitters or adult caregivers. If you have been instructed in the use of in-home therapy, make sure that a responsible caregiver also receives instruction.

Fortunately, most seizures, even those that are prolonged, end without injury. The important thing is to work with your doctor so that you have a plan to follow when they occur.